Sony Music U.K. Acquires Essential Music and Marketing

Sony Music U.K.’s artist and label services division Red has acquired London-based independent sales and distribution company Essential Music and Marketing -- a member of The Cooking Vinyl Group.  

As part of the acquisition, a new company will be launched on March 7 called Red Essential and based at Cooking Vinyl’s West London’s offices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and none of the other companies in the Cooking Vinyl Group, such as its records or publishing division, are included in the merger. 

Ian Dutt, managing director at Red, and Mike Chadwick, founder of Essential, will assume the joint roles of co-managing director at Red Essential, with staff at the two companies set to combine roles, resources and back office functions to build what is described in a press release as a “future-facing global sales and distribution company.” 

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Physical distribution for the U.K. and Ireland, including warehousing and shipping to international partners, will be handled by Proper Music Group.

Launched in 2014 as the U.K. arm of Sony Music’s global artist and label services business, Red offers sales, distribution, manufacturing and marketing support for independent labels and artists. Recent campaigns have included Run The Jewels, Lower Than Atlantis and The Cribs, alongside partnerships with independent labels Kitsune, Downtown, Easy Life and Red Bull Records. 

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Key artist campaigns for Essential, which was formed in 2003, include The Prodigy, Passenger, Marilyn Manson, Royksopp, Skepta and Lucinda Williams. According to Martin Goldschmidt, chairman of Cooking Vinyl Group, the alliance between the two bodies will enable Red Essential to cut through “increasing market congestion” in the sales and distribution sector.  

“Our combined experience and resource mean that we can offer artists and labels a really fantastic combination of hands-on expertise and global reach alongside market leading tech solutions,” added Dutt in a statement.